Home > Silver Screen > Wardrbobe Malfunctions in Comic Book Movies

Wardrbobe Malfunctions in Comic Book Movies

Recently a photo of Catwoman from the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises was leaked onto the Internet. As expected, it caused an uproar, because Comic book fans don’t like costumes to be messed with. Even though I’m not a comic geek, I usually side with them on this issue. I mean, what’s the point of adapting material and not staying true to the source? Sure, you can say, it’s just a costume. What does it matter what they wear?

It does matter, though, because the costumes are iconic. Let’s stray outside of comics for perspective. What if they made a new Indiana Jones movie where Indy didn’t wear a leather jacket and fedora? People would be screaming bloody murder and I would be one of them. What if in the new James Bond movie, 007 walked around in shorts and a T-shirt? Sure, it’s just clothes, but it’s not Bond without the dapper tuxes and suits.

That brings us back to Catwoman. When I think of the character, I think of a woman in a sleek and sexy catsuit. As I understand it, the suit can be either black, purple or gray. Some sort of mask, hood or ears should be used to give a feline impression, but the important thing is that she is jaw-droppingly hot. The character doesn’t really have much to offer other than her smoldering sexuality, so if the sight of Catwoman slinking into a room doesn’t make Bruce Wayne pitch a Bat Tent, they’re doing something wrong.

I’m kind of underwhelmed by the new look. Hathaway seems to be wearing some sort of black leather suit, but it isn’t as sexy as we need, nor does it seem superhero-y or comic book-y. Think more Halloween costume adapted to the bedroom and less flame-retardant racing suit. It’s hard to tell from the pictures we’ve seen, but for now, my excitement at Catwoman appearing in the movie has now dissipated.

The old TV show and the Tim Burton movie both did it pretty well, so it should be easy to get it right. Both looks are undeniably sexy. Both are instantly identifiable as the comic book character and both are believable in a comic book world as a catburgler nemesis of Batman.

At least whatever happens, this won’t be worse than the Catwoman movie. Pretty simple look, right? I always thought it was almost impossible to screw it up. I’ve seen tons of Catwomen at Halloween parties and they all pull it off pretty well if they stick to the above basics. And the movie stars Halle Berry, so it’s pretty much a lock that they will — dear God, what the hell is that?

Leather pants that were run over with a lawnmower, a black bra and a mask that looks like it was bought from Walgreens for $1.99? They couldn’t even splurge for a quality Party City mask? That’s what they did for Catwoman? That’s it! I give up! Hollywood, as far as I’m concerned, you lose your privilege to adapt things. Just stop.

People say that they should “modernize” the look, so it’s more realistic. Great idea, because we can’t have a movie about a billionaire who fights crime while dressed like a bat hindered by an unrealistic costume. Have you ever been to a Halloween party? People dress like iconic characters because a) it looks good, b) the characters and looks are a sexy escape from reality and c) they are iconic.

The studio should have known. People don’t like it when you mess with the costumes, so why do they? It made me think back to when I was first excited that they were making an X-Men movie (one of the 2 comics I read as a kid). I was excited to finally see those characters on the screen…Except I didn’t get to see them on the screen. I saw similar characters in black jumpsuits on the screen. Take a look at these two pics. Do they look like the same characters to you? Luckily, the recent X-Men: First Class took a step back in the right direction.

And then there was G.I. Joe. I never saw the movie. I saw no reason to. Not only did the script widely deviate from the original concept of the show, but yet again the costumes did the same. In the cartoon, each character had a distinct look. True, that was done to sell more toys, but it also gave them each character. In the movie, they all look the same. The proper look was swapped for…you guessed it…generic black suits.

Hollywood, please stop giving us generic black suits and start giving us costumes we identify with the characters. And while I have your attention, please stop making vampire movies, movies based on board games, romantic comedies, anything with Seth Rogan and any movie that has a montage of a character trying on different outfits.

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  1. August 12, 2011 at 12:10 am

    “It does matter, though, because the costumes are iconic.”

    I’m going to have to disagree with you there my friend. Catwoman is iconic, her costume isn’t.

    Catwoman has been through a ton of costume redesigns. Your post demos six of them, and it barely scratches the surface.

    Also, there is quite a bit more to Catwoman than just sex appeal, and if toning down the sexiness in her costume to focus on her character is what it takes to accomplish that, then I say right on.

    Lastly, I love it when comic adaptation films deviate from the source material. It keeps things interesting for me because when they follow the comics to the letter, I know everything before I even sit in the theater, and there’s no fun in that. What bothers me is when adaptations change the core values that make a character. That’s when things start to suck.

    • August 12, 2011 at 9:32 am

      I agree with you to a point. Catwoman’s costume has changed a lot, but I think (aside from the Halle Berry version) it always had a look that was similar enough it evoked the same feelings. For lack of a better word, they always seemed Catwoman-y. From what we’ve seen of the new costume, it seems more like Chris Nolan trying to make her look realistic and not comic book-y. I know Nolan goes for realism and he’s one of my favorite directors, but I don’t think this change works.

      I’m okay with deviating from the source material, especially since I’m not a comic reader. I guess it just bothers me that I see so many photos from comic cons where the people look better than the film version of the characters.

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